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Le Deck: At Sea in the City
As summer is upon us, we city folk dream fondly of the sea, don stylishly nautical apparel and crave the open waters of the Mediterranean or the Red Sea. Le Deck, the floating-dock restaurant lounge at the Sofitel Gezira Hotel, is the perfect place for some Nile-side, laid-back indulgence.
As a bonus for those in search of some waterfront relaxation, Le Deck does not draw the crowds and noise of other Nile-side venues. Rather, it is open and airy, and the fans keep you cool and happy as you sample appetisers, order a fresh juice or tuck into a dessert.
You must pass through the lobby and out of the back of the hotel to reach the restaurant, which provides a quiet sanctuary. Gently floating on the Nile and anchored to the banks of the Sofitel garden, the venue is a world away from the glitz and glam of Buddha Bar, though the occasional strobe light flash can be spotted from floors above.
Le Deck is truly lovely, with large white chairs and ornate oriental lanterns creating an exotic feel without overwhelming guests with over-the-top decor. The venue gently rocks to and fro as boats pass by, and diners can spot the occasional felucca sparkling away in the distance at night. Suitable for both larger groups and intimate gatherings, the atmosphere can fit a romantic evening or social night out with friends.
The menu boasts predominately oriental favourites and offers a wide range of warm and cold mezzas. The hummus is rich and smooth, the salad crisp and the freshest of fresh. The grilled options are sensational: the shish tawook is excellently cooked and accompanied by sweet vegetables and crisp potato wedges; while the kofta arrives hot off the grill and is spiced to perfection.
While the food is nothing ground-breaking– you'll find no fusion sensation or exotic cuisine here– it is reliable and tasty. However, be prepared for a minimum of up to 200LE per person to apply when booking for groups of ten or more. While it’s easy to forget as you lounge in the open air, you are still at one of Cairo's upper-echelon hotels, and luxury comes at a price. For smaller parties, expect to pay around 300LE for a moderate meal for two.
Le Deck is a perfect summer night getaway when you are looking for a relaxing alternative to both a wild night out on the town and the café scene. Most importantly, it captures a rare waterside peace while not being overly pretentious or tourist-packed.
When we asked to move because we were between shisha smokers on either side, no alternative seating was offered as all the other tables were empty but reserved and we were left breathing in fruity, second hand shisha smoke.